Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Greece: Ancient Culture - Spoiled Children

By Rich Kozlovich

Today there was an article that appeared on the Stratfor news service website (subscription only) entitled, Greece's Weighty Decision, saying “There is no doubt that it is a hard time to be Greek”  because the  Greeks are a “bewildered population” over the emerging “revelations” over the announcement by the Greek Prime Minister’s announcement on “national television that a referendum would be held July 5 on the bailout terms that had been offered by Greece's creditors”, and a later announcement “that Greece's bailout would not be extended beyond June 30.”

Alas, the Greeks, who like a spoiled child who has lived off daddy’s credit card for decades, are being asked to decide if their creditors are being “fair” by demanding they begin to take some responsibility for their actions. 

Well, I would like to know who wrote the Book of Fair?   There is no Book of Fair!  As is often the case “fair” depends on whose ox is being gored.  Fair is in the eyes of the beholder and in this case these spoiled angry children, who’ve rioted in the streets demanding the gravy train never stop, and have lived off the hard work of others are asked if it’s “fair” they have to new stand on their own two feet.    

Well, here’s the answer - the Greeks, who have lived off daddy’s credit card for decades, will demand their government go back and negotiate with the EU for a continuation of the largess that prevents them from becoming adults.  That’s when they will finally come to the realization no one cares what they think, no one cares what they were promised, no one cares what they want, and no one cares they don’t want to work hard and long to pay their own way. 

The leftist Syriza party took control of Greece’s government by promising to end the austerity programs, that were never really implemented under the previous government, and continue and expand the policies leftist governments love in Greece.  The very policies that got them into trouble.   And now all the leftist rhetoric, all the posturing, all the shouts of victory by they and the population is going to stop!  They’re finally coming face to face with reality.  They face doom and previous attitudes of defiance are gone, and now they know.  Daddy isn’t going to pay their bills any longer. 

Their banks are  closing - the potential of leaving the EU is very real - the potential for Greece’s total economic collapse is very real – violence is sure to erupt, and all the talk about they have to bail out Greece otherwise the Greeks will cozy up to Russia and Putin is interesting, but if there ever was a red herring that’s it.  Does anyone really believe Putin will give them money he doesn’t even have for his own country.  Putin’s a cad, but he isn’t a stupid cad.  No one can afford to be Greece’s friend on Greece’s terms.  Greece is toast, get over it and move on. 

As for the EU?  Unless they abandon all their stupid socialist economic, environmental, and regulatory policies – they’re doomed also.  Socialism is a system with no moral foundation that believes in stealing from the producers to give to the non producers.  Greece is finally learning the truth.  Eventually you run out of other people’s money!  Will the EU accept the reality of history?  I have serious misgiving about that, and to demonstrate just how deeply socialism permeates the European psyche take a look at England’s Conservative Manifesto.  If this is England’s concept of conservatism, then all of Europe is doomed. 

The link between climate and poverty

Posted by Marita Noon @ Breitbart

The climate alarmists are practically giddy over Pope Francis' recently released "climate encyclical"-remember, these are, generally, the very same people who dis the church and its position on abortion, the origin of life on earth, and the definition of marriage. Even Al Gore, who admits he was "raised in the Southern Baptist tradition," has declared he "could become a Catholic because of this Pope."

Not surprisingly, Carl Pope, who served as executive director of the Sierra Club for 36 years, chimed in. He penned a piece published on June 22 in EcoWatch in which he bashes "American conservatism" and positions the papal publication as being responsible for a "new dynamism" that he claims is "palpable."

"It is more a gale than a fresh breeze," Pope exclaimed, "when the most ground-breaking pope since John XXIII links poverty and climate." In his post titled "How Pope Francis's Climate Encyclical is Disrupting American Politics," Pope pronounces: "Something fundamental is shifting this summer in political and cultural attitudes around the climate."

The former Sierra Club director then goes into a litany of news stories to support his position. Included in his list: the recent agreement from the "world's major industrialized nations" to "Phase Out Fossil Fuels by 2100"-which is more rhetoric than reality.

In his claim of colliding "new realities and social change forces," Pope never mentions the polling indicating that after the most extensive and expensive global propaganda campaign, fewer people are worried about a warming planet than were 25 years ago. Nor does he acknowledge that, according to Harvard Political Review, the vast majority of Americans-even those who agree that "global warming is a proven fact and is mostly caused by emissions from cars and industrial facilities such as power plants"-are still "unsupportive of government measures to prevent climate change that might harm the economy."

And "harm the economy" it does-which is why, despite the G7 non-binding "agreement," many European counties are returning to fossil fuels and retreating from renewables-led by German capacity payments to keep coal-fueled power plants open.

On June 19, in PV Magazine, Stelios Psomas, policy advisor at the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies, laments Greece's "policy U-turn towards lignite." Psomas said: "All [the new government] is concerned with is how to promote power generation from fossil fuels e.g. new lignite power stations, new gas pipes and exploratory drilling for oil. So far, it has shown no interest at all for renewables energy."

In May, Greece's Production Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis, sent a letter to the European Commission "requesting permission to reactivate and prolong the life of Ptolemaida 3"-an "old technology" coal plant. Among his arguments, Lafazanis cited "the country's ongoing recession, which has prompted the need to maintain household heating costs as low as possible." Greece is also dueto start construction any day on Ptolemaida 5, a new lignite-fired power station in Northern Greece.

Greece's return to coal is due, according to Lafazanis, to the intermittency of renewable power, which endangers the country's "energy security," and to economic concerns. The Greek photovoltaic industry is "now preparing for the worst."

Similarly, Poland is also seeking exemptions from "the European Union's rules on reducing carbon emissions because the nation's energy security and economic development depends on coal," BloombergBusiness reports. Poland has previously received concessions from the EU climate policy. The new governing party, Law & Justice, is planning a strategy for the economy that "rejects the dogma of de-carbonization." In Carbon-Pulse.com, Ben Garside predicts: "it may become more tempting for Polish governments to try to opt out of the [climate] laws altogether."

Following elections in the United Kingdom that gave the conservative Tories a decisive majority, Britain's energy policies are changing. While, so far, claiming to stick to its carbon targets, the new government will focus on minimizing costs.

In an editorial prior to the elections, The Guardian framed the party differences this way: "The Tories have cast off their green disguise. They will end subsidies for onshore wind power and rely on the market to bring down prices, they are enthusiastic about fracking and they want to build more roads. ... The Greens, of course, remain committed to creating a zero-carbon economy, even if that is at the cost of economic growth."

As predicted, the new Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd, announced, an end to onshore wind subsidies, which "will save hundreds of millions of pounds." She acknowledged that ending the "subsidy scheme" meant about 250 projects, totaling about 2,500 turbines, are now "unlikely to be built."

The change in the government's attitude toward wind energy, which was part of the Conservatives Manifesto, is likely the first of many to come in the weeks ahead. The Manifesto pledges to:
  • Keep energy bills as low as possible;
  • Halt the spread of onshore windfarms;
  • Back a significant expansion in new nuclear;
  • Continue to support development of North Sea oil and gas and the safe development of shale gas; and
  • Not support additional distorting and expensive power sector targets.
In The Telegraph, columnist Fraser Nelson reports that, after taking stock of what has been learned in the past five years, Rudd intends to take the summer to come up with "a proper Tory plan"-which, like the wind subsidy decision, is expected to follow the Manifesto and keep energy bills as low as possible.

Once again, economics are an important factor. Nelson states the following as a problem with climate-driven energy policy: "the fact that at least 15,000 British pensioners die of the cold each winter. It's a staggering death toll, which has been greeted with a shrug for far too long. But this, too, is ending. The notion of 'fuel poverty' is being more widely recognized-and green subsidy is compounding the problem."

In Germany, Greece, Poland and the UK, fossil fuel has reemerged. However, in Ethiopia, according to Pope, they are willing to reduce projected 2030 carbon pollution by 64 percent. The caveat? "If climate finance is made available."

Yes, there is a "link" between poverty and climate. The green energy favored by the Pope, Carl Pope, and other climate alarmists threatens energy security, harms the economy, and creates fuel poverty that kills thousands of people each year.The Telegraph, columnist Fraser Nelson reports that, after taking stock of what has been learned in the past five years, Rudd intends to take the summer to come up with "a proper Tory plan"-which, like the wind subsidy decision, is expected to follow the Manifesto and keep energy bills as low as possible.

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens' Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). She hosts a weekly radio program: America's Voice for Energy-which expands on the content of her weekly column.

Climate Change and Energy Press Release 30/06/15

'Vatican Advisers Have Lost Their Moral Compasses'

London 30 June 2015 - A new paper published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation finds the Vatican is being laid astray by its advisers by statements on climate change that are scientifically lacking and ethically dubious.

The report, written by Dr Indur Goklany, examines just some of the scientific statements made by the Pontifical Academies ahead of the Pope’s recent encyclical on the environment and finds that these fly in the face of the empirical facts.

As Dr Goklany explains: “The academies say that sustainability and resilience are being destroyed by over-consumption and that fossil fuels are to blame, yet almost every indicator of human well-being from life-expectancy to health to standard of living has improved beyond measure largely because of our use of fossil fuels”.

And according to Dr Goklany’s analysis, the beneficial impact of fossil fuels has not only been on human well-being but also on nature, because fossil fuel use has allowed more intensive use of land, thus reducing the amount of wilderness that has to be diverted to agricultural use. This means that the Vatican’s backing of reductions in fossil fuel use would actually reduce human well-being and increase the human impact on the planet.

Dr Goklany said: “Climate change is a moral and ethical issue, but it is a strange ethical calculus that would justify wiping out the gains we have made in human well-being over the last few centuries at the same time devastating the natural world. The Vatican’s advisors appear to have lost their way”.

About the author

Dr Indur Goklany is an independent scholar and author. He was a member of the US delegation that established the IPCC and helped develop its First Assessment Report. He subsequently served as a US delegate to the IPCC, and an IPCC reviewer. He is a member of the GWPF’s Academic Advisory Council.

Full paper (pdf)

Contacts

Dr Indur Goklany
e: goklany@outlook.com

Dr Benny Peiser
Global Warming Policy Foundation
e: benny.peiser@thegwpf.org

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Apartheid Promoter Jimmy Carter Shills for the Mass Murdering Sudanese Government

Posted by Daniel Greenfield on Wednesday, February 14, 2007 @ the Sultan Knish blog 10 Comments

Editor's Note: This was posted eight years ago and in spite of the continued monstrosities perpetrated by Islamists the left remains intractable defending the indefensible.  Carter isn’t alone having blood on his hands.

Jimmy Carter, freelance moral ambassador to the world, vociferous critic of any free country trying to protect itself from the menace of terrorism, particularly the United States and Israel... is taking a little trip to Africa.

Of course Carter will be going to Sudan. No, not to stop the genocide of Christians, Animists and Africans, by the Islamic Arab Sudanese government. No Carter will be going to lecture on preventing guinea worm infections. Now, no doubt guinea worm infections are a serious problem, but so is the murder of hundreds of thousands of people, the rape, torture and enslavement of many times that number.

Instead Carter arrived in Khartoum on February 9th and praised the Sudanese Federal Ministry of Health for its work in preventing infectious diseases. Carter attended a conference presided over by the head of the mass murdering Sudanese state, President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir himself.

While Carter goes on a book tour calling Israel an Apartheid State, there is no such venom directed to the Sudanese regime, which has murdered hundreds of thousands of its citizens, based on their race and religion. Instead Carter makes nice. He shakes hands. He praises their medical achievements. If it was the Munich Olympics, he'd have been in the stands with Adolf, talking about fighting cholera in Dusseldorf.

But don't think that Jimmy has entirely forgotten about the ongoing genocide in Sudan. Because of course Jimmy Carter, moral voice of authority, peacemaker and freelance diplomat, made a statement. Oh yes he did.

The new U.N. Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, is pushing for the deployment of a few more thousand UN Peacekeepers to stop the killing by arab militias. Enter Jimmy Carter to condemn the move.

"You can't resolve a conflict in an area as wide as Darfur, even with 50,000 troops. Troops are not the way to do it," Carter said. "The government in Khartoum is not going to let them in. Even with five times as many troops they still couldn't do it," he told Reuters on the eve of a trip to Sudan, where he is expected to meet with Bashir.

Oh yes, you wouldn't want Peacekeepers on the ground to actually try and stop the killing. And in any case, why Carter's Arab buddies who are doing the killing, wouldn't let them in any way. And so Carter, the great booster of the UN, helpfully tells us even UN Peacekeepers are a bad idea.

"The United Nations, Europe and the United States needed to push for a negotiated settlement first. The U.N., the EU and the U.S. need to harness all their tremendous influence to force all of the conflicting parties to negotiate a peace agreement and accept it. We need to emphasize a negotiated settlement."

That's the answer then. Continue the "negotiations" while the Sudanese government continues the genocide. By no means send in UN Peacekeepers to protect the millions in refugee camps. Let them die. Let the women be raped and their children murdered.
There's no talk of Apartheid. No condemnation of a regime that has carried out genocide and displaced millions from their homes. There's no book tour. There's negotiations in which the killing goes on and the Peacekeepers stay home.

Why is there no moral outrage from the Great Peanut Farmer of Georgia who has lust in his heart to smear Jews and Americans, but forbears from saying a harsh word for the people who perpetrated atrocities like this... but instead meets with them to praise their progress in fighting guinea worms?

"One of the most savage atrocities yet recorded in Sudan was laid bare yesterday when it was reported that Janjaweed militia shackled villagers and burned them alive during a raid in the Darfur region."

Why not only does Jimmy Carter not call for action, but instead shills for the Sudanese government and resists sending in UN Peacekeepers to protect the people being murdered there?

Sudan's Islamic Arab government has close ties to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has quietly backed Sudan's genocide, as part of an overall global Islamic campaign. Carter backs the murderers in Khartoum, just as he backs those in Ramallah. The rhetoric changes, but the agenda remains the same.

Jimmy Carter has been and remains a shill for mass murderers. Particularly Marxist and Muslim governments and groups, to which he cultivates close ties. While Carter plays at being the conscience of the world, he's the spokesman for bloody killers and he has blood on his hands too.

We Are What We Stand For!

By Rich Kozlovich

Yesterday the movie Judgment at Nuremburg was on television. I’ve always liked that movie because it really explores the actions and arguments of all parties and forces everyone to draw conclusions that may not be popular. The Germans viewed this as revenge – and it was! The Allies viewed this as long overdue justice – and it was! The movie also makes it clear the general population of the Allies didn’t much care any longer and the western governments were far more concerned about the Soviet Union, which is why some of the monsters of the Third Reich spent very little time in prison.

There are a host of politicians wanting to be President of the United States and it never ceases to amaze me how easily they can slip the surly bonds of reality, loyalty, and truthfulness in order to be popular. Those on the left do it with ease because that's what leftism is all about - adopting whatever policy that will get them into power. Leftism has no moral foundation so they're not troubled by conscience and the media is part and parcel of the leftist movement - so they rarely report their leftist “comrades” constantly shifting positions, and when they do it won't be on the air much more than a nanosecond.

As for those on the right – as Daniel Greenfield noted in his article, Be the Best Saboteur You Can Be”,There is no conservative party”!  He goes on to say, “There is a Republican Party. The purpose of the party and its politicians, much like that of its Democratic counterpart, is to obtain money and privileges for its major donors.  That doesn't mean that its members don't have other ideals and agendas, but Republican politicians who rise high enough come from an urban and suburban establishment that is more liberal than its base.  Expecting them to care as much about your issues as you do is unrealistic.”  He notes “they will only do the right thing insofar as it helps them t get control of money, advance their careers and become popular!” Can we assume Obamatrade is an evidence of this kind of thinking?

Yet we have an 18 trillion dollar debt that no one has come out and explained how that’s to be fixed.  Why?  With the left the answer is easy. They want to keep spending and act as if it’s not a big deal.  With the right the answer is easy.  They want to keep spending and act is it’s no big deal.  As for what they say in private we can only be speculated, but no one is coming forth with any solutions that will work.  Why!  Because the media will eat them alive.

But no matter how this plays out we have to understand there are tragic consequences for failing to define who we really are, and act accordingly.  The left has destroyed any concept of right and wrong, and our society has accepted that.  We have abandoned any idea the Constitution sets boundaries for any government action – no matter how unconstitutionally egregious, and the courts are now worthless in stopping them.  But since they continue down the road of doom they must somehow all believe disaster won’t be the consequence of all of this!  And when it does occur – and if nothing changes it will - they will plead their motives were good they never thought disaster could occur.

Why is it people can’t learn from history?  That’s easy to explain also.  The left has taken over education and they don’t teach history.  One scene in Judgment at Nuremburg was most important.  During the cross examination of one of the witnesses Nazi judge Ernst Janning, played by Burt Lancaster, became so emotionally filled with disgust over his past actions he stood up and made this statement:


“There was a fever over the land. A fever of disgrace, of indignity, of hunger. We had a democracy, yes, but it was torn by elements within. Above all, there was fear. Fear of today, fear of tomorrow, fear of our neighbors, and fear of ourselves. Only when you understand that - can you understand what Hitler meant to us. Because he said to us: 'Lift your heads! Be proud to be German! There are devils among us. Communists, Liberals, Jews, Gypsies! Once these devils will be destroyed, your misery will be destroyed.'
 
It was the old, old story of the sacrificial lamb. What about those of us who knew better? We who knew the words were lies and worse than lies? Why did we sit silent? Why did we take part? Because we loved our country! What difference does it make if a few political extremists lose their rights? What difference does it make if a few racial minorities lose their rights? It is only a passing phase.
 
It is only a stage we are going through. It will be discarded sooner or later. Hitler himself will be discarded... sooner or later. The country is in danger. We will march out of the shadows. We will go forward. Forward is the great password. And history tells how well we succeeded, your honor. We succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. The very elements of hate and power about Hitler that mesmerized Germany, mesmerized the world! We found ourselves with sudden powerful allies. Things that had been denied to us as a democracy were open to us now. The world said 'go ahead, take it, take it! Take Sudetenland, take the Rhineland - remilitarize it - take all of Austria, take it!
 
And then one day we looked around and found that we were in an even more terrible danger. The ritual began in this courtroom swept over the land like a raging, roaring disease. What was going to be a passing phase had become the way of life. Your honor, I was content to sit silent during this trial. I was content to tend my roses. I was even content to let counsel try to save my name, until I realized that in order to save it, he would have to raise the specter again.
 
You have seen him do it - he has done it here in this courtroom. He has suggested that the Third Reich worked for the benefit of people. He has suggested that we sterilized men for the welfare of the country. He has suggested that perhaps the old Jew did sleep with the sixteen year old girl, after all. Once more it is being done for love of country. It is not easy to tell the truth; but if there is to be any salvation for Germany, we who know our guilt must admit it... whatever the pain and humiliation.”
 
What philosophical group was he talking about?  What was the name of the party that imposed these atrocities?   The National Socialist Party – the Nazis!  Fascism is the right wing of socialism and communism is the left wing, but they’re merely two sides of the same coin.  Socialism has no moral foundation and will adopt anything that helps them to get control of your money, advance their careers and become popular!  All in the name of helping the people - or in the case of the environmentalists - saving the planet!
 
At the end of the trial Judge Haywood, played by Spencer Tracy, made this statement;
 
“Janning, to be sure, is a tragic figure. We believe he *loathed* the evil he did. But compassion for the present torture of his soul must not beget forgetfulness of the torture and death of millions by the government of which he was a part. Janning's record and his fate illuminate the most shattering truth that has emerged from this trial. If he and the other defendants were all depraved perverts - if the leaders of the Third Reich were sadistic monsters and maniacs - these events would have no more moral significance than an earthquake or other natural catastrophes. But this trial has shown that under the stress of a national crisis, men - even able and extraordinary men -can delude themselves into the commission of crimes and atrocities so vast and heinous as to stagger the imagination.

No one who has sat through this trial can ever forget. The sterilization of men because of their political beliefs... The murder of children... How *easily* that can happen! There are those in our country today, too, who speak of the "protection" of the country. Of "survival". The answer to that is: survival as what? A country isn't a rock. And it isn't an extension of one's self. *It's what it stands for, when standing for something is the most difficult!* Before the people of the world - let it now be noted in our decision here that this is what we stand for: justice, truth... and the value of a single human being!”
 
The movie ends in a quietly spectacular way.  Ernst Janning asks for Judge Haywood to come to his cell before going home.  He gives his a record of his cases over the years because he clearly wants to have this one man’s respect, irrespective of all that he did.  Even though he publically recognized his guilt he’s still trying to find justification for his moral failure, and acceptance from this one unassuming and humble man.  He says;
 
Judge Haywood... the reason I asked you to come: Those people, those millions of people... I never knew it would come to that. You must believe it, You must believe it!

Judge Haywood, a simple man with a clear and simple morality that typified this nation at one time says: 

Herr Janning, it came to that the first time you sentenced a man to death you knew to be innocent.

That simple statement of what should be foundational morality is almost alien today.  We are what we believe and what we practice.  Playing the role of a tragic figure hoping for "compassion for the torture of their souls" will not ease the pain and suffering leaders have caused in the past and will not ease the pain of all those millions who the left cause to be tortured and die in the future.  We know the socialist monsters of the 20th century killed over 100 million people.  We also know the green movement - the spear point for socialist policies - has been responsible for at least that many deaths and caused billions of cases of sickness and disease that would have not occurred except for their schemes.  All in the name of “saving the planet”!  Yet we have over 200 years of history since the French Revolution that shows every one of the left’s schemes and policies are disastrous. 

These failed policies are not being carried out by “depraved perverts,…..sadistic monsters and maniacs”.  These failed policies continue to be carried out by “men - even able and extraordinary men –[who] delude themselves into the commission of crimes and atrocities so vast and heinous as to stagger the imagination. 

And who’s the sacrificial lamb of the left today?  Humanity!  And they have to know that!

Pam Geller's Atlas Shrugs

Jihad Porn: Devout French Muslim took SELFIE with beheaded victim *WARNING* - This is what they do. They post their unimaginable savagery online to recruit other Muslims. The devout Muslim who opened fire on children in a Jewish day school in Toulouse, France posted the slaughter of little girls and boys moments after his murderous rampage. It’s what they do. Yassin Salhi sent the selfie using the WhatsApp instant messaging application to a North American phone number, said one of these sources. French delivery business owner Herve Cornara, seen here, was decapitated by jihadi Yassin Salhi, who left his severed head hanging from the fence of a U.S.-owned company near Lyon, police said…
Australian Prime Minister: Islamic State group is ‘coming after us’ - At least one world leader will state the obvious. One. “This is the grim reality the world faces now.”  “Regrettably, as we saw in France, all you need for terrorism these days is a knife, a flag, a camera phone and a victim.” And a head. Here’s the thing: for years my colleagues and I have been warning the West. We work tirelessly to rouse the slumbering masses. We were smeared, booed, hissed, defamed for trying to ward off this war. And still, even today, the campaign of personal attacks and destruction continues, because we oppose Islamic supremacism and jihad.

It never should have come to this…….

Ruffled feathers: Larger wind turbines bad news for birds, groups say

Posted by Rob Nikolewski @ Watchdog.org / June 24, 2015 / 17 Comments

To supply more energy to more states across the country, the U.S. Department of Energy wants to see wind turbines get a lot bigger.

But many bird lovers — the American Bird Conservancy in particular — don’t like the idea, saying taller towers and bigger blades make for a deadly combination.

“This expansion, together with larger turbines and larger blades, will mean more birds will die,” said Michael Parr, chief conservation officer at the American Bird Conservancy. “Our position is, if there’s something you can do about it, you should.”

The Audubon Society also has concerns.

“Our advocacy would be to get those (turbines) tested for impacts on birds before we deploy them on a large scale,” said Garry George, the renewable energy director of Audubon California.

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz last month released a report calling on the nation to “unlock the vast potential for wind energy deployment in all 50 states,” highlighting technical advancements to greatly expand the areas of the country where wind turbines can be used.

The agency is calling for taller turbines with larger rotors.

The average wind turbine in the U.S. is 80 meters high, and the DOE report says plans are in development for towers 110 and 140 meters high. That’s between 360 to 459 feet — the length of 1 1/2 football fields.

The newer, taller constructions are estimated to be 1 1/2 times the height of the Statue of Liberty and could be used onshore and offshore.

Bigger turbines in more places would mean more electricity per dollar and, the department says, greater reduction in the price of wind energy.

From the U.S. Department of Energy
From the U.S. Department of Energy

“By producing the next generation of larger and more efficient wind turbines, we can create thousands of new jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as we fully unlock wind power as a critical national resource,” Moniz said in a statement released by DOE May 19.

The report accompanying Moniz’s statement estimated if wind energy grows to meet 10 percent of the nation’s electricity demand by 2020 and 20 percent by 2030, it would translate into annual benefits of $9 billion in 2020 and $30 billion in 2030. The benefits are based on reductions in air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Wind accounts for 4.4 percent of U.S. electricity generation, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration,

“We’ve proven out as an industry in Europe, with a fair number of turbines in Europe at 120 meters,” Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, told the Washington Post. “So it’s tested out in Europe, we think we can deploy it here in the U.S., and it’s an exciting evolution for the industry.”

But opponents say bigger blades and taller towers will kill more birds.

Parr said reports from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service used radar to show that dense numbers of birds and bats migrate at night between 300 and 500 feet above the ground — putting them in direct contact with larger wind turbines.

The conservancy already estimates 573,000 birds and 880,000 bats are killed each year from hitting wind towers and blades that may appear to move slowly but can reach speeds of more than 100 mph at their tips.

“It should also be noted that these estimates do not include deaths or reproductive failure due to a loss of habitat, disturbance, or to collisions or electrocutions at the transmission towers and lines associated with wind facilities, which is likely substantial,” a conservancy report said.

Watchdog.org asked the Department of Energy to address the criticisms of bigger turbines but did not receive a response by noon Eastern time Tuesday.

In DOE’s 45-page report, “Enabling Wind Power Nationwide,” the agency said it makes every effort to avoid what’s euphemistically called “avian mortality” and pays special attention to protected species such as the bald eagle.

“Dedicated research is needed to understand the biological and ecological factors related to potential interactions between bald eagles and wind, improve the ability of regulators and developers to predict risk to bald eagles at particular sites, and assess potential mitigation measures,” the paper said.

“It’s not true to say that birds will not be affected by these large turbines or to imply the vast majority of those birds fly higher than the turbines,” Parr said in a telephone interview. “The science does not support that, and I think you have to be more careful with the large turbines than you are with the other turbines.”

George of Audubon California says his group’s members “are big supporters of renewable energy,” but he wants the Department of Energy to complete a thorough study of the impact of bigger wind turbines.

“They haven’t been tested for safety for birds, so you can’t claim that they’re safer for birds,” George told Watchdog.org. “We would like to see the Department of Energy actually do that study to show the impacts of those larger turbines.”

Defenders of wind turbines point out that more birds are killed by other sources such as windows, buildings and even cats in a given year.

Even by the American Bird Conservancy’s estimates, up to 1 billion birds are killed each year striking glass, and 175 million are killed by power lines.

Parr says ABC is concerned about those other sources of bird deaths, too.

“If it’s a major factor, we’re on top of it,” Parr said. “But when it comes to wind turbines, 500,000 (deaths a year) is not a small number.”

But the American Wind Energy Association criticized the American Bird Conservancy for what it said were suggestions that “entire areas should be banned for wind development.”

“Simply barring any development in these areas is not compatible with scaling up wind power enough to address climate change, which is the biggest threat that wildlife will face this century,” John Anderson, senior director of permitting policy and environmental affairs at AWEA, wrote on the group’s website.

“We support wind, but let’s do it in a thoughtful way,” Parr said, calling on the federal government and turbine manufacturers to be careful where they place wind farms, especially in areas home to threatened and endangered species or in the paths of migrating birds.

“(Wind) is a new and growing industry and preventing bird deaths is something we can do readily,” Parr said. “Now is the appropriate time to affect change in the industry before it’s fully built out.”

DOE envisions bigger and taller wind turbines enabling areas of the country that haven’t seen many wind farms to become contributors to the industry.

“Regions primarily affected by this increased technical potential include the Southeast, states bordering the Ohio River Valley, the Great Lakes Region, the Northeast, and portions of the Interior West and Pacific Northwest,” the DOE report said.

“Well, they may run into trouble,” George said. “It’s an experiment and it would be great if (DOE) did the experiment before they actually deployed” bigger wind turbines.

Click here to read the DOE report, “Enabling Wind Power Nationwide.”

Sunset of solar subsidies shadows SolarCity

Posted by Tori Richards @ California Watchdog / June 23, 2015 / 31 Comments

Part 11 of 11 in the series SolarCity

California-based SolarCity’s website proclaims, “Every three minutes, someone switches to SolarCity.”

But behind the solar-energy provider’s allure of celebrity owner Elon Musk (of PayPal, Space X and Tesla Motors) and lightning-speed growth – its construction of a $750-million improbably-named “gigafactory” in New York – is a company trying desperately just to break even. And to catch a break.

Disappearing federal grants and tax breaks to green-energy producers – key to SolarCity’s business model – helped push the company into the red last year. Two federal investigations into SolarCity’s business practices could wreak even more financial havoc if stiff financial penalties are imposed.

On the other hand: All that growth.

“We’ve exceeded 1 terawatt hour of energy production for the past 12 months, and as we enter the spring and summer we are breaking records,” SolarCity chief technology officer and part owner Peter Rive chirped during a May 5 investors call. “Over the past couple of months we’ve broken through the four- and five- and six-gigawatt hour-a-day-a-month.”

Rive was talking about the production of electricity via the solar-energy systems his company leases to homeowners.

No one is disputing SolarCity’s hold on the nation’s largest share of residential solar, with footholds in 18 states and counting. It’s the long-term viability of a company with massive debt to investors like Bank of America and Credit Suisse Bank along with dependence on government subsidies fading away over the next 24 months.

This has caused many to place SolarCity in the high-risk category.

“TheStreet Ratings team rates SolarCity Corp (stock) as a Sell with a ratings score of D+,” wrote the Wall Street analyst bible TheStreet. “The company’s weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its generally high debt management risk, disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow, poor profit margins and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.”

Nick Loris of the Heritage Foundation think tank told Watchdog that SolarCity’s tenuous business model is beholden to the whims of the economy.

"When your business model is built on taxpayer money, it doesn’t bode well when that money goes away,” Loris said.

SolarCity says the business is in strong financial health.

As of March 31, the company has a projected $6.1 billion in contracted payments that are scheduled over the next 30 years and are not reflected in quarterly financial reports, according to Jonathan Bass, SolarCity’s spokesman.

“We incur the costs to acquire customers in the current period and we recognize the revenue over 30 years,” said SolarCity spokesman Jonathan Bass. “We made $147 million in Q1 2015. We also have the lowest cost structure in the solar industry and a well-defined cost reduction roadmap, and we’re ahead of schedule to reduce our costs more than enough to offset the reduction in the federal investment tax credit in 2017.”

Most of SolarCity’s business involves leasing rooftop systems to homeowners at a cost that escalates each year on a 20-year contract. As the system owner, SolarCity reaps the federal 30-percent tax rebate, an amount that will disappear in 2017. Rebates will decrease to 10 percent for commercial customers, a group not currently a large portion of SolarCity’s customer base.

Likewise, President Obama’s stimulus fund has been drying up, doling out a fraction of the billions it has paid for renewable energy since 2009. In 2013 SolarCity received $127.4 million in federal grants. And last year? Just $342,000, according to its 2014 SEC report.

The SEC report also shows that SolarCity recorded a net loss of $375 million on a total revenue of $176 million.

Even though SolarCity has been given a virtually free solar panel factory courtesy of New York taxpayers – rent is $1 a year – the company is still on the hook to spend $5 billion in the state over the next five years and employ 3,460 workers. SolarCity acquired existing panel manufacturer Silevo in the deal, but the proposed state-of-the-art technology and massive output is something that neither company has attempted.

SolarCity admits in the SEC report the “technology is novel and involves proprietary and complex manufacturing techniques, which may result in undetected errors or defects in the solar cells produced. Any defects in our solar panels could cause us to incur significant warranty, non-warranty and re-engineering costs.”

Construction has started on the Buffalo factory, which will be 1 million square feet – longer than four football fields.

The last and likely highest financial hurdle facing SolarCity is the two different federal investigations into its business operations that could result in damages of millions of dollars.

The first is a U.S. Treasury Dept. probe into whether SolarCity inflated the sales costs of its leased systems to obtain an increased tax payout.

“If the Internal Revenue Service or the U.S. Treasury Department were to object to amounts we have claimed as too high of a fair market value on such systems, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and prospects,” the SEC report said. “A hypothetical five percent downward adjustment in the fair market value in the approximately $501.2 million of U.S. Department of Treasury grant applications that have been awarded (from 2007) through June 30, 2014 would obligate us to repay approximately $25.1 million to our fund investors.”

In the second investigation, the U.S. Labor Department is looking into wage and hour issues in California.

“On February 28, 2014, the Department of Labor informed us that it had made a preliminary determination that some of our employee positions were not properly classified, and has made a preliminary determination of damages,” the report said.

If the Department of Labor were to conclusively determine that we violated certain of these labor laws and regulations, Solar City says it would be required to make the appropriate payments of back wages and other amounts to employees, and could be subject to fines or penalties.

But the key challenge for SolarCity remains that business model – leasing rooftop solar systems in order to claim state and federal subsidies.

“What’s really alarming to me is that solar technology keeps getting better and better, and this works against SolarCity because people aren’t going to want antiquated, outdated technology on their homes with leases locked into an escalator cost,” said Heritage Foundation’s Loris. “We don’t know the rate of electricity in the future. They are in a mad dash to take advantage of the tax credit because it’s expiring at end of 2016 and it’s their only way to raise free money. Otherwise, no one would pay the high up-front cost.

“I don’t know what will happen to them — do they have the money to handle these main issues?” Loris asked.

Part 11 of 11 in the series SolarCity

Sunset of solar subsidies shadows SolarCity


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